Russian astronaut Gennady Padalka has returned to Earth with the record for having spent the most time in space.
A ground crew rushed to welcome and extract the three astronauts from the charred spacecraft and medics checked their condition.
“I am fine,” Mr Padalka told them as he sipped tea and ate an apple, the AFP news agency reports.
Mr Padalka’s companions – Andreas Mogensen from Denmark and Kazakh Aidyn Aimbetov – are both novices in comparison, having only spent 10 days in orbit on what was their first mission.
Mr Aimbetov had travelled in place of British soprano Sarah Brightman, who had been due to made the trip as a space tourist but withdrew from training in May citing family reasons.
Six astronauts now remain on the ISS, including Nasa’s Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko, who began a 12-month tour of duty in March – the longest continuous stay anyone would have been aboard the 400km-high (250 mile) orbiting platform.